In the middle of the festive season, the Verdi union hit Lufthansa with a warning strike by workers on the ground. After more than 1,000 flights were canceled, almost nothing worked at the Frankfurt and Munich hubs on Wednesday, and some 134,000 passengers had to change their travel plans. 19 flights operated by Lufthansa subsidiary Austrian Airlines (AUA) were also affected. Tomorrow, however, AUA expects regular operation again, an APA spokeswoman said.
German trade union Verdi had earlier announced that it was not planning any further strikes until the next round of wage talks. The next round of negotiations is scheduled for 3 and 4 August. The spokeswoman said the failures did not cause chaos at Shwechat airport today. Most of the passengers were reached on time, thus the helpless crowds in front of the check-in counters could be avoided. According to the AUA, about 2,100 passengers of Austrian Lufthansa were affected by the failure.
According to Verdi, about 5,000 employees participated in the campaign and demonstrated for higher salaries, while many passengers at the stations feared their subsequent flight options. In Frankfurt, long queues of mostly foreign passengers formed in front of the few rebooking counters in the morning. According to a Lufthansa spokeswoman, customers have been offered different solutions depending on the destination of the flight. Additional personnel were planned for this task, which remained under control. In principle, passengers can be rebooked on subsequent Lufthansa flights or other carriers, although free seats are usually scarce.
In individual cases, a Lufthansa spokesman said in the arrivals hall, people may have to wait several days before continuing their journey. A British tourist on his way to Singapore says he is already preparing for a second night in a hotel in Frankfurt. A couple did not get an answer to their questions: “They are literally stranded here. How and when will we get to Mexico? I have no idea!”.
Verdi and Lufthansa blamed each other for the situation. Marvin Rechinsky, the strike leader at Verdi, said the company had deliberately refrained from negotiating again after the warning strike was announced. He is now hoping for a quick and good result. “Obviously we expect Lufthansa to increase its pace in the next week so that air traffic can be operating again.” A high score is also a sign of relief for existing employees when Lufthansa offers more attractive jobs to newcomers. “It is badly needed.”
“I think this warning strike is completely unreasonable,” Human Resources Director Michael Nijjemann received from Lufthansa’s management when he told Verdi’s protesting unionists. His expressions of respect for the staff’s work were sometimes answered with sarcastic laughter, and the mood was heated.
Verdi’s negotiator Kristen Behle had already announced on the ZDF morning show that there would be no further strike by ground crew until the next negotiation date next Wednesday (August 3). Verdi rejected the first offer as too low. The federation is asking for an additional salary of 9.5 percent, but at least 350 euros. The two parties gave themselves two days to conduct the talks, which alone indicates a certain desire for a conclusion. Regardless, polling is taking place among Lufthansa’s pilots in the cockpit federation (VC), which will make unspecified strikes possible from August.
Verdi’s strike began on Wednesday morning and continues until Thursday at 6 am. Lufthansa feared the effects until Friday, the last day of school before the summer holidays in Bavaria. Lufthansa confirmed that, however, there were already no further cancellations of flights scheduled for Thursday. Although the strike will continue through Thursday, 6 a.m., flights will be attempted as usual at the first node in the morning.
At Germany’s largest airport in Frankfurt, 725 out of 1,160 flights were canceled on Wednesday, according to a spokesperson for operator Fraport. This also affected flights from other companies, which are usually taken care of by Lufthansa ground staff. In addition to the cancellation of 646 Lufthansa, there were also flights from other group companies such as Switzerland, Austria, Brussels and Air Dolomiti. In addition, machines cannot be taken off from Croatian, United, Air Canada or Polish airlines LOT.
The situation was similar in Munich, where Lufthansa itself canceled 330 flights, but other airlines were also affected. At smaller airport locations, most connections to Munich and Frankfurt only have been cancelled. In Düsseldorf, the airport managed to get around the strike of the Lufthansa subsidiary of Leos, whose drivers usually push planes out of their parking lots. This task was performed by other service providers.
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